Weathering well

If you are reading this with fingers crossed that you will be able to have that family barbecue this weekend without cooking under an umbrella, the subject of this week’s Friday Futurescope will strike a chord.

Engineers at Queen’s University Belfast have developed filter technology designed to boost the weather forecasting capabilities of future meteorological satellites.

After early promises of a glorious summer wilted under a downpour the weathermen look like they could do with all the help they can get.

The good news is that the filters are designed to allow far more accurate examination of what’s going on in the Earth’s atmosphere than currently possible. The bad news is that the satellites that will carry them are not due for launch by ESA until the end of the next decade.

As well as helping us to plan our holidays and ice cream manufacturers to set production levels, there is a more serious side to the QUB technology. It is also intended to monitor the effects of climate change, which many believe will be the defining global issue of the next 50 years.

Here is one confident forecast ­ – technology that could help us better understand the weather is set to be a very big deal indeed over the next decade, and any engineer who makes a fundamental breakthrough in this area will be guaranteed a sunny future. Have a lovely weekend.

Andrew Lee, Editor